THE TWO DAY seminar on various aspects of the beginning, present condition and problems confronting the annihilation of the caste system started well with the Inaugural Session at 10 am to 01 pm on 20th April at Garhwal Bhawan, New Delhi, with over hundred delegates from different organizations coming from different states participating. Inaugurating the Seminar and Convention, com. KN Ramachandran, General Secretary of the CPI(ML), called for coordinating the efforts at all India and South Asian level to launch a powerful anti-caste movement in the present context when the caste system, a unique and heinous specific characteristics of this region has taken more barbarous and vicious forms under the neo-liberal offensive by the imperialists and their lackeys.
While evaluating the experience of the movement from the days of the renaissance movement, comrade KNR called developing the theoretical understanding and practice according to present conditions when the caste divisions has spread to all religions and are increasingly utilized to perpetuate the reactionary ruling system. It is in this context the significance of the joint move initiated by the CPI (ML), NDPI, Anti-Caste Forum of Delhi and AINUS-Mulpravah to launch the Anti-Caste Movement by forming a preparatory committee and organizing the two day Seminar to be followed by Anti-Caste Convention on 22nd April to be seen. He called for a dedicated, determined and united effort by all like minded organizations to launch this joint movement with the perspective of annihilation of the very caste system itself in order to serve the intensification of the revolutionary advance towards people’s democracy and socialism. Com. Arun Maji, General Secretary of NDPI, presided the inaugural session while com. Mrityunjay of ANF welcomed the leading comrades from different organizations and delegates.
The session was addressed by comrades D Prempati from NDPI, Thakur Kanal pf Mulpravah, Jaiprakash of ACF, PJ James of CPI(ML), Aloke Mukherjee of CPI(ML)-Janasakthi, Venketeswar Rao of MLC-AP, Arjun Prasad Singh of PDFI, NT Desai from Gujarat, Anant Acharya of DAFOWAM, Partha Sarkar of CCI, Kusum of Students for Resistance sand Digambar Upadhyay of Desh-Videsh Patrika. While touching on various aspects of the caste system and the growing danger posed by it, all comrades appreciated this timely initiative and called for launching a powerful anti-caste movement at the earliest.
The successful inaugural session was followed by the First Session of the Seminar on: Caste, Class and Patriarchy and Caste, State and Imperialism, on which papers from comrades Aloke Mukherji, Sarmistha Chowdhry and P.J. James were presented followed by a lively discussion on the relation between caste and class and how imperialist intervention from the colonial times to present neo-colonial days intensified the caste divisions, conflicts and caste-based oppression and plunder. This session was presided by com. Brij Bihari of CPI(ML), co-convener of the Preparatory Committee.
In the second session of the Seminar on Political Parties, Caste Based Parties/ Organizations and NGOs on Caste Question, from 9 am to -1 pm on 21st April, papers were presented by comrades Brilbihari, Alok Mukherjee and Thakur Khanal. I t was presided by com. Jaiprakash. Once again this session also witnessed active discussion which led to the orientation that the anti-caste movement should keep the NGOs, ruling class parties and all those who compromise with the ruling class parties.
In the third and last session of the Seminar on Caste, land relations, mode of production and way to annihilation of the caste system papers on various aspects of this subject were presented by comrades Budhesh, PJ James for R. Manasayya, Umakat for Anand Phadke, Arjun Prasad Singh, Kumar Sanjay, Thomas Mathew and for Krantikari Lok Adhikar Sanghatan and Jati Virodhi Andolan. There was an active debate on mode of production prevailing in the country and on the approach towards annihilation of the caste system. As more than 20 organizations and a large number of progressive individuals committed to annihilation of the caste system actively participated with the attendance in the Seminar reaching more than 150, the debate on the various subjects provoked heated but healthy discussion and this final Session concluded by 07 pm creating enthusiasm among the participants. The Seminar concluded with enthusiastic slogans pledging to intensify the struggle for the annihilation of the caste system starting with resistance to all forms of caste based oppression and exploitation.
The Anti-Caste Convention on 22nd April started at 10 am with about 50 delegates representing more than 20 organizations participating. The Discussion on the draft Proposal for building Anti-Caste Movement was actively discussed. The Preparatory Committee agreed to develop the draft including all positive suggestions and amendments put forward by the delegates in the meeting which will be sent to all participating organizations by 15th May to be finalized in the 10th June meeting of the All India Coordination Committee of the Anti-Caste Movement which was constituted in the Convention. The Convention unanimously decided to launch the Anti-Caste Movement with the objective of annihilation of the caste system. The long term and short term programs including the campaign programs shall be discussed and decided by the 10th June Meeting. Campaigns against caste based oppression and exploitation, caste discrimination, untouchability in all forms, superstitions etc , campaigns in support of struggles for revolutionary land reforms based on ‘land to the tiller’, launching of necessary publications including the publication of the papers presented in the Seminar etc shall be taken up. Apart from the four members of the Preparatory Committee, thirteen more organizations expressed their readiness to become part of the movement and the All India Coordination Committee was formed including all of them, while three organizations informed that they will inform their readiness after discussing in their organizations. The participating organizations agreed to contact other likeminded organizations at all India level to include them also in the Movement. The Convention adopted three Resolutions on : the Brahmanical order of the Patna High Court setting free the killers of Bethani Tola, against the slum demolitions in Kolkata, Delhi and other places and on other atrocities against dalits, adivadis and other oppressed sections. The Convention concluded in a militant atmosphere with the raising of slogans pledging to carry forward the movement till the caste system is abolished.